Big Bama Baseball Series On Tap For USC

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By USC SID

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina (32-10, 10-8 SEC) begins a three-game series on Friday at Carolina Stadium hosting Alabama (28-13, 12-6 SEC). First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. with the game streamed live at GamecocksOnline. Saturday and Sunday's games will be televised on ESPN. Saturday's game is scheduled for 2 p.m. with Sunday's series finale at 1 p.m. Saturday's game is sold out with limited standing room only tickets available for Friday and Sunday.

South Carolina is ranked No. 8 by the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and the NCBWA, No. 10 by Perfect Game, No. 11 by Baseball America and No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball. Alabama is ranked No. 8 by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game as well as No. 17 by the NCBWA and No. 18 by the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

LIVE COVERAGE
Radio: Gamecock IMG Radio Network; Flagship 107.5 FM The Game. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody call the action.

Television: ESPN on Saturday and Sunday. Tom Hart and Kyle Peterson will call the action.


PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Friday
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Jr. LHP) 5-3, 3.62 ERA, 59.2 IP, 21 BB, 59 SO
Alabama - Spencer Turnbull (Jr. RHP) 5-2, 2.14 ERA, 59.0 IP, 28 BB, 48 SO

Saturday
South Carolina - Jack Wynkoop (So. LHP) 5-2, 2.07 ERA, 61.0 IP, 8 BB, 45 SO
Alabama - Justin Kamplain (Jr. LHP) 3-2, 3.54 ERA, 56.0 IP, 20 BB, 53 SO

Sunday
South Carolina - Wil Crowe (Fr. RHP) 6-2, 2.37 ERA, 50.2 IP, 12 BB, 39 SO
Alabama - TBA

THE ALABAMA SERIES
South Carolina leads the series with Alabama 29-25 including eight wins in the last 10 contests played between the two schools. Both teams did not meet last year and last met two years ago with the Gamecocks sweeping the Crimson Tide at Carolina Stadium.

Alabama under the direction of head coach Mitch Gaspard is tied for the SEC lead heading into the weekend series. The Crimson Tide have won SEC series this year vs. Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Auburn and Tennessee.

A LOOK BACK
South Carolina won two of three games at Auburn last week. Carolina sits at second place in the SEC Eastern Division and in a tie for fourth place overall with four conference weekends left to play.

SOME SUPERLATIVES
South Carolina won a pair of one-run contests at Auburn to claim a 14th consecutive series vs. the Tigers, a stretch that began in 1998. South Carolina is 7-3 in one-run games this year as well as 15-8 in games decided by three runs or less. The Gamecocks are 30-5 on the year when allowing five runs or less in a game and 15-1 on the year when scoring six runs or more. South Carolina is 23-1 when leading after the sixth inning and 9-9 when trailing or tied including six victories when trailing or tied entering the ninth inning.

GREINER SHINES
Junior catcher Grayson Greiner was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the top catcher in college baseball and is on USA Baseball's Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award.

Greiner hit .500 (6-for-12) for the Auburn series with three hits in Saturday's 3-2 win as well as three hits in the 4-3 victory in the series finale. Greiner drove in a pair of runs in the 4-3 contest. He is hitting .319 (45-for-141) with eight doubles, four homers and a team-high 38 RBI. He is tied for third in the SEC in runs batted in. Greiner owns a team-best .468 slugging percentage.

Greiner was named SEC Player of the Week on March 31 after his play in the Tennessee series. Greiner hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win over Tennessee on Saturday. His play along with Jordan Gore's walk-off homer was No. 1 on ESPN's SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day.

Greiner won the Tom Price award as the MVP for South Carolina in the weekend series vs. Clemson. Greiner hit .400 (4-for-10) for the weekend with four runs scored. His grand slam homer helped lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win. He had a team-high four walks on the weekend as well.

SEDDON SEALS IT
Junior right-hander Joel Seddon picked up a win and a save in the Auburn series. Seddon pitched a perfect ninth inning to claim his 10th save in the 3-2 win vs. the Tigers. He followed that up with 2.1 scoreless innings in the 4-3 rubber game to earn a victory. Seddon's 10-save total leads the SEC.

Seddon has won two games and is 10-for-11 in save opportunities this year. He sports a 0.33 ERA with just two runs, one earned, allowed on 10 hits and seven walks in 27.1 innings of relief. He has struck out 34 batters and opponents are hitting a miniscule .112 against him in 17 relief appearances. He has been named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List.

K-MART
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin leads the Gamecocks with a .354 batting average (58-for-164). He ranks third in the SEC in hits as well as sixth in batting average. Martin is on an 11-game hitting streak and went 4-for-4 in Wednesday's 6-1 win over USC Upstate. Martin has a team-high 18 multi-hit games. Martin's .320 average (24-for-75) in SEC games leads the team as well.

JACK OF ALL TRADES
Despite a no-decision, sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop was effective in the 3-2 win at Auburn. He worked seven-plus innings and allowed two runs, both unearned, on eight hits with no walks. Wynkoop is 5-2 for the season with a 2.07 ERA. His ERA ranks 10th best in the SEC. He has pitched a team-high 61.0 innings and has 45 strikeouts to just eight walks. Wynkoop picked of a his team-best fifth runner of the season as well on Saturday.

CLUTCH CONE
Freshman outfielder Gene Cone came through for the Gamecocks in both victories at Auburn. He belted a career-high three hits including a game-tying RBI double in the top of the ninth inning to help South Carolina rally for a 3-2 win at Auburn on Saturday. He then followed that up on Sunday going 1-for-3 with game-winning RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning of South Carolina's 4-3 win at Auburn. Cone tied his career-high with three hits in Wednesday's 6-1 win over USC Upstate. He has raised his average to .227 and owns a .321 on-base percentage.

MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery hurled his first complete game of the year in a 4-2 loss at Auburn. Despite the loss, Montgomery gave a great effort as he limited the Tigers to just four hits with all four runs coming in the first inning. Montgomery is 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA. He has 59 strikeouts in 59.2 innings to lead the team. Opponents are hitting .235 against him. His 59 strikeouts ranks fifth highest in the SEC.

DC DELIVERS
Sophomore infielder DC Arendas hit 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored in the 8-0 win vs. Davidson. He also went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in the 4-3 win at Auburn and hit .333 (4-for-12) in the series. In the 10-8 loss at The Citadel, Arendas reached base all five times at the plate with a homer, three walks and a hit by pitch. Arendas is hitting .254 (31-for-122) with a .350 on-base percentage and 16 walks.

MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey had a pair of scoreless outings out of the pen in the 3-2 and 4-3 wins at Auburn. Mincey is 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in a team-high 21 relief appearances. He has 35 strikeouts in 24 innings with opponents hitting .173 against him. He is tied for fourth overall in the SEC in appearances.

A JOLT FROM JORDAN
Freshman infielder Jordan Gore came up with his second game-winning hit of his career with a RBI single in the ninth inning of South Carolina's 3-2 win over Auburn. Gore also had a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 14th in a 3-2 win over Tennessee.

CROWE MAKES A STATEMENT
Freshman right-hander Wil Crowe was effective in a no-decision in Sunday's 4-3 win at Auburn. He allowed three runs on six hits in 5.2 innings with two walks and six strikeouts. Crowe is 6-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched. He is one of eight pitchers in the SEC to have won six games or more.

Crowe was honored twice by the Southeastern Conference in the first two weeks of the regular season. On February 24, he earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after working 6.1 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Eastern Kentucky with just four hits allowed and one walk to pick up his second win of the season.

The first week, Crowe was SEC Pitcher of the Week. He had an impressive debut as he hurled 6.1 hitless innings in his first career start. Crowe walked just one and hit one batter while finishing with five strikeouts to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform. Bucknell had just one runner reach second base and none reach third base while Crowe was on the mound. Crowe retired 13 consecutive batters in a row before coming out of the game as he reached his pitch count total.

AT THE PLATE, ON THE MOUND AND IN THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .283 (409-for-1443) for the year with a .357 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks own a league-best 2.00 ERA in 382.0 innings, opponents batting .218 against the Gamecocks. South Carolina is fielding .974 as a team with 41 errors.

CARDIAC GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks have won six games this season when trailing entering the seventh inning including four wins when trailing entering the ninth inning.

South Carolina is outscoring opponents 75-18 from the seventh inning through extra innings on the year. From the sixth inning to the end, South Carolina is also outscoring opponents 115-30.

PANKAKE RISES
Junior infielder Joey Pankake is hitting .315 (46-for-146) with a team-high 38 runs scored. He went 3-for-3 in the 6-1 win over USC Upstate. Pankake's on-base percentage is .401 with a .425 slugging mark. He is fourth in the SEC in runs scored.

Pankake's .306 average (22-for-72) in SEC games is second best on the team. He has 11 of his 20 RBI this year in SEC games.

CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
Freshman right-hander Wil Crowe worked 7.1 innings in Sunday's 6-5 loss and allowed five runs, two earned, on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts. He is 6-2 on the year with a 2.13 ERA in a team-high 55.0 innings pitched.

Crowe was honored twice by the Southeastern Conference in the first two weeks of the regular season. On February 24, he earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after working 6.1 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Eastern Kentucky with just four hits allowed and one walk to pick up his second win of the season.

The first week, Crowe was SEC Pitcher of the Week. He had an impressive debut as he hurled 6.1 hitless innings in his first career start. Crowe walked just one and hit one batter while finishing with five strikeouts to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform. Bucknell had just one runner reach second base and none reach third base while Crowe was on the mound. Crowe retired 13 consecutive batters in a row before coming out of the game as he reached his pitch count total.

A BRIGHT SPOT
Junior outfielder Connor Bright is hitting at a .340 clip (48-for-141) with 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 25 runs scored. Bright has a .381 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage. He owns 14 multi-hit games

GREAT SCOTT
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott has been effective in a middle relief role for the Gamecocks. Scott pitched six scoreless innings of relief to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform and kept the Gamecocks alive in a 9-6 come-from-behind victory vs. Tennessee. Scott is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA on the year. He has allowed just three runs on 19 hits in 27.0 innings, opponents hitting .204 against him.

MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney is on an eight-game hitting streak and is up to a .290 average (40-for-138) at the plate. He has scored 17 runs and driven in 18 runs as well. Mooney has eight doubles, tied for second highest on the team. Mooney has 11 of his 16 RBI with two outs this year.

A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
Junior outfielder Tanner English went 2-for-3 with a stolen base in the 4-2 loss at Auburn. English is batting .282 (40-for-142) with 18 runs scored and 19 RBI. English's 12 stolen bases lead the team.

VINNY
Junior left-hander Vince Fiori pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-5 loss vs. Florida. He allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings with a strikeout. Fiori has a 0.00 ERA in 16.0 innings pitched with 15 strikeouts to six walks. Opponents own a .186 average against him.

WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener improved to 2-0 with a win vs. Furman. Widener pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with a season-high four strikeouts. In addition, Widener was the starting designated hitter on Sunday vs. Florida and had a RBI single and scored a run in the 6-5 loss. Widener has a 1.04 ERA in 26.0 innings with 25 strikeouts and opponents hitting .165 against him.

STARTERS
Two Gamecock players have started all 42 games this year, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and junior center fielder Tanner English.

HARRINGTON HIGHLIGHT
Junior outfielder Patrick Harrington recorded his first hit and had a RBI in the 8-0 win over Davison. In his first start vs. Florida, Harrington walked twice and drove in a run as he started in left field for the Gamecocks. Heh also walked twice and scored a run in Tuesday's 4-1 loss vs. Charleston Southern.

REAGAN SUPPLIES RELIEF
Freshman left-hander Josh Reagan was effective in relief in Tuesday's 8-0 win vs. Davidson He is 3-0 on the year with a 0.42 ERA in 10 appearances. Reagan has 20 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched.

SHUT THEM OUT
The Gamecocks have raised the season total for shutouts to 12 on the year, just two shy of the school record 14 set in 1974.

HOME SWEET HOME
South Carolina has six sellouts this year and 36 in school history at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina has totaled 216,528 in attendance in 29 home games for an average of 7,466 per contest.

South Carolina is 180-36 in all-time games at Carolina Stadium, a winning percentage of .833. That is the best winning percentage of all 14 SEC schools since opening the facility.

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